Lord of Publishing: A Memoir

Lord of Publishing: A Memoir

by Sterling Lord
Lord of Publishing: A Memoir

Lord of Publishing: A Memoir

by Sterling Lord


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A frank and insightful memoir of a life spent in publishing, by one of literature’s most legendary agents

Sterling Lord has led an extraordinary life, from his youth in small-town Iowa to his post-war founding and editing of an English-language magazine in Paris, followed by his move to New York City to become one of the most powerful literary agents in the field. As agent to Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, and countless others—ranging from Jimmy Breslin and Rocky Graziano to the Berenstains and four US cabinet members—Lord is the decisive influence and authors’ confidant who has engineered some of the most important book deals in literary history. In Lord of Publishing, his memoir of life and work (and tennis), Lord reveals that he is also a consummate storyteller. Witty and wise, he brings to life what was arguably the greatest era of book publishing, and gives a brilliant insider’s scoop on the key figures of the book business—as well as some of the most remarkable books and authors of our time.  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781453270714
Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
Publication date: 01/29/2013
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Sterling Lord was the founder and cochairman of Sterling Lord Literistic and represented authors such as Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey for more than half a century. Born in the Mississippi River town of Burlington, Iowa, Lord graduated from Grinnell College in 1942. After serving in the air force in WWII, Lord worked in New York City for a number of magazines, including Cosmopolitan, before opening his literary agency in 1952. In addition to Kerouac and Kesey, he represented such authors as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Dick Francis, Howard Fast, and Stan and Jan Berenstain. Lord played competitive tennis for seventy-eight years and competed with or against Don Budge, Helen Wills Moody, Billy Talbert, Jean Borotra, and Marcel Bernard. Lord passed away in 2022 at the age of 102.

Table of Contents

1 Kerouac and Me: My unique perspective on the writer and icon 1

2 From IOWA to New York City-Via Paris: My pathway to the heart of publishing 18

3 Starting From Scratch: The beginning of the agency and five early successes 37

4 Invading the Intelligence Community: Selling The U-2 Affair, The Invisible Government, and others 70

5 First Novel, First Down, First Feature Film: The stories behind North Dallas Forty and Semi-Tough 84

6 From Our Nation's Capital: Judge John Sirica, Pierre Salinger, Robert McNamara, and their books 105

7 First among First Ladies Jackie Kennedy Onassis 133

8 The Bells Don't Ring All the Time: Representing internationally known and emulated columnist Jimmy Breslin 145

9 Different Hooks for Different Books: The unusual ways I sold nine books 163

10 Unimpressed by Power and Prestige: Rejecting a president of the United States 194

11 The Most Prolific Bears: My fifty-plus-year association with the Berenstains through 250,000,000 copies 206

12 The Women in My Life: My female counterparts at work and at home 226

13 The Ken Kesey I Knew: My friendship with and representation of a remarkably talented and generous man 247

14 A Writer's Triple Crown: Bill Nack and Secretariat 262

15 Changing With the Times 274

Acknowledgments 299

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